(William Murphy/Flickr | CC BY-SA)

Sex, Death, and Three Irish Women

In November 1984 the Catholic parish of Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland, gathered to bury a woman who had been dead for 150 years.1 Local tradition asserted that the woman, Áine, gave birth to three illegitimate children in the 1830s or 1840s and then became gravely ill. Citing her sexual transgressions, Áine’s parish priest would not… Read more →

US Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink in a meeting with cabinet members, nd. (Making Waves Films)

The Mother of Title IX Goes to Washington: Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002)

When the US women’s basketball team dribbled their way to a 6th straight Olympic gold this summer in Rio, they owed some — if not much — of their success to Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002). Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress, where she served as a US Representative from Hawai’i (1965-1977,… Read more →

(Spanning Tree)

Pronoun Privilege

Originally published as “Pronoun Privilege” in the New York Times on September 25, 2016. My fall classes started recently, and I had to face the pronoun question. It’s simple for me: My appearance matches my preferred pronoun, so I don’t worry about anyone misstating it. But some of my students are transgender or gender nonconforming,… Read more →

More Recent Articles

Motion Picture Herald, Jan-Feb 1940, Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Smelly history. Early French dermatology. Collecting in the wake of Katrina. Old Hollywood’s juiciest sex scandal. The history of women presidents in film. Feminism according to stock photography. U.S. Forest Service damages Trail of Tears. A vomiting machine could solve a flu mystery. An… Read more →

LEFT: Cover of Book 3 of March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. (Top Shelf) RIGHT: Photo of some of the leaders of the Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, in 1963. From right to left: Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; (seated with glasses) Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; (beside Robinson is) A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the demonstration, veteran labor leader who helped to found the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, American Federation of Labor (AFL), and a former vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); (standing behind the two chairs) Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President of the American Jewish Congress; (wearing a bow tie and standing beside Prinz is) Joseph Rauh, Jr, a Washington, DC attorney and civil rights, peace, and union activist; John Lewis, Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and Floyd McKissick, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality. (National Archives and Records Administration | Public domain)

“We’ve Got to Get to Work”: John Lewis’s March

Congressman John Lewis is an American hero. As he tweeted on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, he is the only speaker from that day of legendary oratory still alive. In his twenties, Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the youngest member of the “Big Six” leaders… Read more →

Wellcome Library, London
A woman wearing a sandwich-board inscribed "I've got VD", U.S.Navy Bureau of Naval Personnel Washington D.C., 1948.

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The shady history of big sugar. The unusual origins of pink lemonade. Finding the humanity in vintage mugshots. Catching a disease through an electric wire. How much do we really know about pirates? Vintage science ads from the 1950s and 60s. The 1880s version… Read more →